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“It would be irresponsible not to show the scene of suicide”

The authors of the recently released TV series “13 reasons why” faced a flurry of criticism for too believable scenes of teenage rape and suicide.

The main characters of the series "13 reasons why." Netflix Photos
The main characters of the series “13 reasons why.” Netflix Photos

March 31, Netflix released the first season of the art series “13 reasons why”, telling about the reasons for the suicide of a 17-year-old schoolgirl in an American school. In some cases, a rather naturalistic and rigid picture was conceived by the authors as an appeal to pay attention to the problem of teenage suicides, but instead the psychological organizations criticized the series for excessive cruelty and bias.

About what the series tells

The theme of suicide among young people is quite acute in the US – suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between 10 and 24 years old. Annually 156 thousand inhabitants of the country at this age are trying to commit suicide, unable to withstand family problems or training loads. Psychological organizations and the administration of many schools are trying to track and help adolescents in the danger zone by regularly conducting conversations with children and their parents.

Updated: The administration of the Canadian school has forbidden pupils to discuss the series on the territory of the educational institution, and local public organizations called on teachers not to talk about the show.

But, despite these efforts, the school is sometimes considered a social torment for teenagers. This is what “13 Reasons Why” is about – a screen version of the same-name novel by Jay Asher (Jay Asher ) in 2007. The plot of the picture unfolds around the suicide of 17-year-old schoolgirl Hannah Baker, who before her death recorded 13 audio cassettes for people involved in her death.

In each episode, about one hour long, Baker’s voice in the background analyzes his relationship with one of his classmates, who somehow harmed her. History sometimes reels to the time when the girl was still alive, but the main plot is based on the current life of classmate Baker.

He, as one of the figurants of audiocassettes, communicates with the girl’s acquaintances, tries to find out the details of her death and to understand whether he is involved in it. With each series the young man encounters all the more criminal details that have occurred to his girlfriend, starting to hallucinate, to clash with classmates and fall into depression.

The main character "13 reasons why" is studying an audio cassette left by a dead girlfriend. Netflix Photos
The main character “13 reasons why” is studying an audio cassette left by a dead girlfriend. Netflix Photos
Unlike the overwhelming number of teenage stories, “13 reasons why” begins and ends on a dramatic note and does not try to impose on the viewer some values. Whether it’s friendship, love or courage. A similar position concerns heroes – there are no clearly good and bad heroes in the picture, and the overwhelming number of their actions are based on a young and inexperienced perception of the world. This leads to consequences, which at a later age are accepted as shame.

For these actions, the series was criticized. In the picture there are scenes of homosexual relations, cruel beatings, humiliations, sexual harassment, rape and naturalistic suicide scenes, including using sharp objects.

For what criticize the show

The series was released at the end of March, but disputes about it began only a month later. Australian authorities said that after the release of the picture in the country, the number of anonymous calls to hot suicide lines increased, and in New Zealand the film was given an unprecedented rating of “18+”. There were two ratings in the country, “13+” and “16+”, but the Organization for the Classification of Films and Literature decided that for the American series special measures are required.

According to experts,

Netflix Photos
Netflix Photos

excessive plausibility of the series and brutal scenes can harm teenagers over 16 years old. After all, they, in fact, are considered the target audience of “13 reasons why.” Organization of the classification of New Zealand clarified that the position relative to the series is associated with one of the highest ratings on the number of suicides in the country. The comparison was given in the context of the 35 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation, where European states are mostly registered.

Psychologists in New Zealand believe that a loud age rating will not prevent minors from watching the show in the era of the Internet. However, he can encourage parents to discuss problems with children in school.

A shot from the series "13 reasons why"
A shot from the series “13 reasons why”
In the US, the administrations of some schools and the National Association of School Psychologists took the show more critically. Experts condemned the detailed display of fights, rapes and suicides, saying that such scenes create an incorrect message to adolescents in difficult life situations. According to American critics, the series does not sufficiently reflect the psychological problems that often accompany suicides.

The final scene with the heroine’s suicide caused the most condemnation, as she, according to experts, was removed too in detail and could become an instruction for potential suicides.

Experts believe that people often end up with themselves because of mental illnesses, and not just because someone has treated them cruelly, as shown in the series. In addition, critics do not like the tragic ending, which does not give an unequivocal assessment of the actions of the protagonist and sends, in their opinion, a wrong message to the victims of sexual violence about their importance in society.

Critics are sure – “13 reasons why” romanticize suicide.

Allegedly, the young viewers of the series will see how much attention is paid to the heroine who is dead and will want to repeat her experience. Critics worry that teenagers can watch the series on Netflix on the phone during school hours or when parents can not control their actions.

Updated: Before you start watching especially violent episodes on Netflix , a link to the psychological help website appears . The service management explained the decision by the stormy discussion of the show and asking people to provide the series with additional warning notices.

Netflix administration also recalled released April 6 a 30-minute documentary, 13 Reasons Why | Beyond the Reasons. In it, the actors and the authors of the show talk about the difficulties in the process of filming and express opinions about the topics that are raised in the series. During the screening, there is sometimes an appeal with a link to the psychological help website for those who are experiencing a difficult period in their lives and need help.

A shot from the documentary 13 Reasons Why | Beyond the Reasons
On the show , and expressed the American actress Paris Jackson (Paris Jackson), at 15 years trying to commit suicide. She noted that the picture helps adults to understand the adolescent consciousness and encourages paying attention to violence in schools. In this case, the actress clarified that people who tried to commit suicide, you should watch the series with extreme caution because of the ambiguous and provocative moments that can cause depressed teenagers unhealthy thoughts.

Against the backdrop of a strong resonance, the journalists of the newspaper Variety discussed the content of the series and agreed that there are many difficult and cruel themes in the series. Authors of publications believe that fictional events of the series can greatly shock people who are unfamiliar with modern school realities, including parents of teenagers. At the same time, the participants of the discussion noticed that thanks to the competent plot and the development of heroes, teenagers can use the series as a platform for discussing their problems.

Updated: The administration of St. Vincent Elementary School in Alberta sent e-mail notifications to parents of students, informing them that it is temporarily forbidden to discuss the series on the school grounds. According to the management, the show contains harsh scenes of violence and is not suitable for students of lower grades. The ban must be lifted after the discussion of the series has subsided.

Council of Hamilton Wentworth School District in Ontario, Canada published on the official notice page, where he accused the series of “romanticizing” suicides and violence. This position was supported by the School of Mental Health – a local organization designed to help school councils. Her management sent out written requests to teachers not to show the series to the children as educational material because of violent scenes of violence.

The organization for the prevention of suicides on the Internet in the Canadian capital of Ottawa reacted more positively to the show. On April 26, the organization’s management published an article urging parents to discuss a resonant series and tell how they would act on the site of the heroes of “13 reasons why.”

How the series is seen by the authors

In 2017, the book “13 reasons why” turns 10 years old. During this time, thanks to the development of smartphones and social networks , the term “cyberbullying” appeared, meaning harassment on the Internet in order to humiliate and lower the victim’s self-esteem. Sometimes such actions lead to depression, occasionally – to suicide.

A shot from the series "13 reasons why"
A shot from the series “13 reasons why”
In the original “13 reasons why” this problem has not yet spread widely. That’s why it was the scriptwriter of the series who pinned her – the American writer and the Pulitzer Prize winner Brian Yorkey. He wanted to show that before the development of smartphones people had to humiliate others, saying resentment in person, and with the development of technology it is enough to go to the Facebook page of the victim and anonymously insult her there.

In addition, York hoped to demonstrate a different perception of information of modern adolescents: someone easily trusted in school rumors and begins a fight against their object, and someone refuses toget into an ambiguous topic.

The authors deliberately deprived the plot of unequivocally good and bad characters, so that the audience would evaluate the events on their own.

Initially, the series was conceived as a full-length film with 24-year-old pop artist and actress Selena Gomez, but later abandoned the idea, and the main role was invited to the Australian actress Katherine Langford (Katherine Langford). Gomez took the post of executive producer and after the success of the series, the reviewers said that she always believed in the series.

According to the singer, the story of the show deserves public attention, as teenagers often fall into difficult situations, the solution of which no one can tell them. When asked about the second season of the series, the actress answered with an interrogative “maybe?”.

April 19, 2017, after a wave of criticism “13 reasons why”, the scriptwriter of the sixth episode of the series, Nick Sheff (Nic Sheff) spoke with the protection of the show. He explained that the authors had expected a conviction for a plausible demonstration of the suicide scene, but from the very beginning of the shootings they agreed to show the episode without censorship and as naturalistic as possible.

Sheff admitted that during the drug addiction several years ago he tried to commit suicide, and so the idea of ​​the series was close to him. The script writer believes that it is very important to talk about the terrible consequences that await potential suicides. According to the author, suicide is not a relief of suffering, but their continuation.

It would be irresponsible not to show the scene of suicide. When faced with [suicides] problems, we should talk and discuss them – this is our best defense against future deaths.

I’m proud of the work on the series, which calls us to a discussion, because silence is really equal to death. We must continue to talk, share and show what teenagers face in the modern world every day. Any other actions will not only be irresponsible, but also dangerous.

Nick Sheff, an American screenwriter and author of the episode “13 Reasons Why”
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